Cargo Thieves’ New Strategy Hitting Shippers Hard
Cargo theft continues to be a pain-point for shippers in every industry as metrics from Q1 of 2018 roll in. Though technically the overall total of cargo related thefts has decreased 23% year-over-year in North America (CargoNet), it is presumed that many more cargo thefts are going unreported by shippers. All cargo theft numbers are voluntarily reported, meaning operations and finance teams who are already scrambling to ascertain their losses may be neglecting to report the theft to the proper authorities. Potentially more worryingly, shippers may not be realizing the extent of their missing products because of inadequate claims management.
Thieves targeting trucks in transit are using a new strategy to carry out their crimes. As opposed to stealing entire loads or many pallets of product, thieves are being more selective in what they are taking and only lifting a small amount of product at a time. Besides the obvious benefit of increased speed to avoid detection, thieves may also be leaving shippers unaware that there was a theft at all. Pallets go missing all the time for perfectly legitimate reasons that can be tracked down, but shippers without a system to track their historical claims may not be aware to what extent they have been targeted by thieves.
Food and Beverage remains the commodity with the highest losses, closely followed by Household Items and Electronics. In the first quarter of 2017, the average value of a reported cargo theft was $164,185. In the first quarter of 2018, the average value of reported goods stolen rested at $90,883. On first glance, this seems like a success story for law enforcement, but it could also paint the picture that pre-meditated theft sizes are actually dropping. Without ascertaining the accurate number of cargo thefts, it will be impossible to determine whether the number of individual events is rising correspondingly.
According to SensiGuard, 92% of large-scale incidents occur in unsecured parking areas. Other locations reported include warehouses and secured parking lots. Often, determining the exact location of the incident, if it is even noticed by the driver, is difficult. Drivers often travel hundreds of miles before unloading, and if they do not do a thorough walk-around of their vehicle at each stop, determining the exact location of the theft becomes more and more unlikely. The best way to catch a theft early is for drivers to remain vigilant about checking their trailer’s seal or lock.
3 Steps to Prevent Cargo Theft
- Check it – Drivers should thoroughly check their trailers’ seals and locks after leaving their truck even for a short period
- Report it – Notify the proper authorities if cargo has been stolen to encourage appropriate action be taken on thieves
- Track it – Make sure to track all historical claims to determine the scope and pattern of incidents, whether benign or malicious
Many shippers lack a process to track and manage their claims with carriers when items don’t arrive at their destinations as planned. This causes a lot of confusion and lost revenue if managed incorrectly, especially if those items have actually been stolen and their value can’t be recouped. By leveraging a Claims Management system like Kuebix TMS’s, shippers can tie claim information directly to the shipment to make tracking and research easy. By maintaining historical claim details no claim goes overlooked and patterns and totals can be discovered, making a real impact to a company’s bottom line.